On 24 October 2019, CCRC fellow Dr. Christopher Hobson was invited to give a paper as part of ‘International Politics Research Seminar’ series at Aberystwyth University (UK). This year the Department of International Politics, the first of its kind in the world, is celebrating its century and the seminar series is focused on big thinking about the future of world politics.
Dr. Hobson talked on his latest research, with a presentation entitled, ‘Flirting with disaster: Artificial Intelligence and accidents’. He outlined a wide range of the different possible risks associated with the further advancement and integration of AI into society. Dr Hobson suggested that in addition to considering the existential dangers of superintelligence, whereby humans disempower themselves by creating a more intelligent actor, there is a pressing need to prepare for the short to medium-term risks associated with continued AI development.
As society becomes more dependent on AI and related technologies, it accrues many benefits, but also becomes more complex and vulnerable to accidents and failures. Dr Hobson argued for the need to do more work on AI risk management and safety, specifically arguing for drawing on insights taken from the way in which the nuclear industry and other dangerous technologies are managed. After the presentation, there was a lively discussion session, in which Dr Hobson and the audience members discussed some of the ramifications of his analysis for thinking about world politics and the future.